The Indigenous communities of the Lower Fraser River, British Columbia (a group commonly called the St :l ), have historical memories and senses of identity deriving from events, cultural practices, and kinship bonds that had been continuously adapting long before a non-Native visited the area directly. In The Power of Place, the Problem of Time, Keith Thor Carlson re-thinks the history of Native-newcomer relations from the unique perspective of a classically trained historian who has spent nearly two decades living, working, and talking with the St :l peoples. St :l actions and reactions during colonialism were rooted in their pre-colonial experiences and customs, which coloured their responses to events such as smallpox outbreaks or the gold rush. Profiling tensions of gender and class within the community, Carlson emphasizes the elasticity of collective identity. A rich and complex history, The Power of Place, the Problem of Time looks to both the internal and the external factors which shaped a society during a time of great change and its implications extend far beyond the study region.
Keith Thor Carlson is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.